A six-year-old boy has become Bury St Edmunds Junior Parkrun’s first milestone award recipient.
Last Sunday, at the Junior Parkrun’s 11th event, one ever-present runner received a sky blue half-marathon wristband for completing every run since the event’s launch on October 23, last year.
Zachary Grove, a Sebert Wood Community Primary School pupil, will now be looking to earn himself even more wristbands, with others available for reaching both marathon (21 runs) and ultra-marathon (50 runs) milestones.
Lisa Grove, Zachary’s proud mother, said: “Both my husband and I have been so surprised by Zach’s new-found love of running and have actively encouraged him in his dedication to Junior Parkrun.
“It’s such a welcoming and well-organised event and is a great thing to do as a family.”
Held at Ten Acre Field, Symonds Road, at 9am every Sunday, Junior Parkrun is part of a global initiative which aims to get people outside and active in a supportive and friendly environment.
Unlike Nowton Park’s Saturday 5km event, the junior edition is a shorter 2km distance ideally suited for four to 14 year olds. It is free, timed and safe to run, with volunteers filling different roles each week.
Parents can choose to run alongside their children but are actively encouraged to let their little ones enter the finish funnel independently to collect their finish token.
Steve Neumann, co-event director alongside Hannah Jewers, said: “Hannah and I are both keen runners and between us have completed over 150 Parkruns so we wanted to give something back.
“Each of us are parents of two four to 14 year olds so setting up this weekly Junior Parkrun event seemed a good way to support our kids’ active lifestyles and get others out running.
“Whilst it’s great to see our children run the course, it’s been amazing to see how they love the volunteering roles just as much. Zachary, along with his sister Olivia, have been two of our regular runners and it was great to be able to award our very first wristband after just 11 events.”
BuryJunior Parkrun was established with the financial support of Suffolk County Council and is the newest of four such events within the county.
It relies on donations to support equipment and supplies and has most recently had additional support from Abbeycroft Leisure and the locality budget of St Edmundsbury Councillor Pat Warby to purchase a gazebo, folding table and on-site storage unit.
Mr Neumann added: “We really appreciate that lots of parents have put themselves forward to support the running of our event. There is a real fun, community feel and it is so rewarding to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they cross the finish line to a raft of clapping spectators. I’m sure it’s the reason that children like Zachary come back week after week”.
For more details visit www.Parkrun.org.uk/burystedmunds-juniors. To register your child go to www.Parkrun.org.uk/register.